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U.K. airlines slam terror plot handling

  |   Aug. 15, 2006 at 1:49 PM
LONDON, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Simmering anger among British airlines over the government's handling of last week's alleged terror plot discovery could lead to hefty lawsuits.

The British government downgraded the security risk from critical to severe Monday, meaning some rules on hand luggage were eased, but the British Airports Authority said Heathrow and Gatwick airports would not be able to implement the new regulations fully until Tuesday until staff had been trained.

British Airways' Chief Executive Willie Walsh was furious, claiming the BAA had been unprepared and had cost travelers and carriers millions of dollars, CNN reported.

Financial analysts said if BA and other affected airlines went after compensation for canceled flights and other losses, the figure could be as high as $570 million.

British Airways canceled at least 40 flights Tuesday, six days after police arrested 24 people allegedly linked to a plot to bomb aircraft bound for the United States using liquid explosives in carry-on baggage.

Monday, the British government downgraded the security risk from critical to severe, meaning some rules on hand luggage were eased, although almost all liquids remained banned.

Topics: Willie Walsh
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